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Urban data politics in times of crisis

This online conference will focus on the relations between urban life and everyday data crises.

The COVID-19 crisis highlights the impact of data on cities and how entangled urban lives are with data revolution. This conference will take an expanded approach to understanding data crises in terms of its everyday manifestations, and not just in terms of instances of breakdown such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, data crises will be taken as forms of ‘slow violence’ (Nixon, 2011) that accumulate over time through various forms of everyday and mundane data violence that deny access to urban infrastructure, welfare and services from the state (Guma, 2013). The pandemic crisis, as other critical junctures past and present, works in this context as a heuristic tool. It makes strategies, interests, ‘governance games’ (Meijer, 2018) and functional relations more visible. Crises also tend to accelerate and legitimate the use of data, algorithms and technologies.

This conference will be held online and, depending on the sanitary situation in November, will include an on-site component at the University of Neuchâtel.


25 November 2021

10:00 – 10:15
Ayona Datta, University College London – Ola Söderström, University of Neuchâtel
Introduction to the workshop

10:15 – 11:15
Rob Kitchin, Maynooth University
Urban data politics: data power, capitalism, sovereignty and justice

11:15 – 12:15 
AbdouMaliq Simone, University of Sheffield
Urban landscapes of feral measures: Making everything and nothing count at the peripheries

14:00 – 15:00
Sarah Barns, Esem Projects
Radical cities: The city as interface for alternate data futures

15:00 – 16:00
Gillian Rose, University of Oxford
Glow and flow: aesthetics as power in urban digital imagery

Ayona Datta, University College London & Ola Söderström, University of Neuchâtel
Webinars and War-rooms: Techno-politics of data in shaping COVID-19 narratives

26 November 2021
9:00 – 10:30
Nancy Odendaal, University of Cape Town; Evan Blake & Ola Söderström, Université de Neuchâtel; Diganta Das; Nanyang Technological University, Anwesha Aditi, Arunima Ghoshal, de Montfort University
Provincialising data power: landings, ruptures and reinventions in South Africa and India.

10:30 – 11:30
Andres Luque-Ayala, Durham University & Rodrigo Firmino, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná
Digital peripheries and techno-driven subaltern urbanisms: An emerging idiom for infrastructural politics and digital activism in the global South

12.00 – 13:00
Jonathan Cinnamon, University of British Columbia
An urban data politics of scale: Lessons from South Africa

14:30 – 15:30
Prince K Guma, British Institute in Eastern Africa
The reconfiguration of the city and the digital under COVID-19 restrictions: scenes from Nairobi

15:30 – 16:30
Federico Caprotti, University of Exeter
Citizenship, gamification and crisis: seeing through (smart)glass, darkly

Ayona Datta & Ola Söderström

From: 25 Nov, 2021
To: 26 Nov, 2021
Organizer: University of Neuchâtel
Languages: English
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